Monday, August 22, 2011
Karma, noun - action seen as bringing upon oneself inevitable results, good or bad, either in this life or in a next life. -Dictionary.com
Karma finds its roots in the near eastern religions of Buddhism and Hinduism. Many New Age philosophies borrow from eastern practices. But all too often, I have heard people give credit to ‘karma’ who themselves claim to be Christian. There are two reasons for this and both expose a lack of faith in the God of our forefathers.
The first reason is that many people believe they can influence the universe. After all there are laws of physics that state for every action there is an opposite and equal reaction. This then translates into “if I do something it will cause an equally important reaction in my life.” “If I give money, then I will receive money. “ Or “my car broke down because I had mean thoughts about my boss.” Note well how prominent the pronoun ‘I’ is. The center of the universe for the karma believing person is the person, not God.
The second reason that people believe in karma is the desire that our works should be rewarded. If I do good, I should get a reward in this world and the next. If my good works are greater than my bad works, then it stands to reason, that I will be in heaven or have a better life in the next. This faulty belief is truly deadly. If we break just one aspect of the Law of God, we have broken the whole Law. (James 2:10) No amount of good works overcomes our guilt. Man truly desires to want to earn his way into Heaven. Once again, the emphasis is on man and not on God and His mercy. The ‘I’ is the center of the universe. The truth is God is at the center and He cannot be manipulated by man. And what often happens to us is not by what we caused in the universe, for we do not govern the universe, but by God’s perfect will for a greater purpose known only to him.
Jeremiah 24 illustrates this. God ordained the King of Babylon to take into exile people from Jerusalem. Jeremiah had a vision of figs, good and bad. The good were the exiles and the bad were those who chose to remain in Jerusalem. Exilic life cannot be ideal by any means but God had a purpose. While in exile they were being prepared by God to reclaim the promise land. So for 70 years, they lived among the heathen as aliens in a strange land. But the bad figs, those who held on to their land, were to be devoured by the sword of Babylon. Exile was not bad karma for the those captured by the King of Babylon. It was a time of preparation in order to return as a people whose hearts had been prepared by God. Sometimes what happens to us that we think is bad, is really God preparing us for a future season. As Jeremiah prophesies:
When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jer. 29:10-14)
God is in complete control. We are not!